September 2016 will mark the 75th anniversary of the human tragedy that occurred at Babyn Yar (Babi Yar), a ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Like Auschwitz in Poland, Babyn Yar in Ukraine has become a major symbol of the destruction of Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust.
It began in September 1941
with the murder of nearly 34,000 Jews, and continued for the next several years with the murder of tens of thousands of more Jews, as well as Roma/Gypsies, Soviet prisoners-of-war, Ukrainian national activists, and Communist party members from various parts of Ukraine. Individuals were stripped of their dignity and subjected to inhuman cruelty and death.
The eyes of many throughout the world are likely to focus on Ukraine in order to see how the tragedies connected with Babyn Yar will be remembered and commemorated. The official commemoration will take place on September 29, under the auspices of the government of Ukraine. During the week leading up to the commemorative day, the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, in cooperation with Jewish and Ukrainian civic leaders and with scholars and cultural figures in Ukraine and abroad, will undertake the Babyn Yar Project consisting of four discrete programs. It will also help to coordinate three related events.
The four programs will be enriched by bringing to Kyiv renowned international figures as well as Jewish and Ukrainian civic activists from around the world. It is expected that the events connected with the four programs will attract the participation and attendance of influential political leaders, diplomats, community leaders, cultural figures, and public intellectuals from various countries. The Ukrainian Jewish Encounter will ensure that these public figures interact with the print and broadcast media in Ukraine and other countries in order to ensure a wide national public discussion of Babyn Yar, the Holocaust, the German occupation, and their meaning today for a Ukraine living in a time of war.
Babyn Yar Commemoration Project
Paul Robert Magocsi
Paul Robert Magocsi
All events, except the Commemorative Concert,
will take place at the Ukrainian center/Ukrainsky Dim (Ievropeiska ploshchad’).
The Commemorative Concert will take place at the
National Opera House (vul. Volodymyrska and vul. Teatralna).
The Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE) is a privately organized, multinational initiative launched in 2008 as a collaborative project involving Ukrainians of Jewish and Christian heritages and others, in Ukraine and Israel as well as in the diasporas. Its work engages scholars, civic leaders, artists, governments and the broader public in an effort to promote stronger and deeper relations between the two peoples.
For centuries, the territory of modern-day Ukraine was a meeting ground for diverse and flourishing cultures, and the dwelling place of one of the oldest and most populous Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. That community, consisting predominantly of Ashkenazi Jews, lived alongside the indigenous Christian Ukrainian population through long periods of normal coexistence and multifaceted cultural cross-fertilization. But at times, relations were strained by violence and antipathy generated in the complex environment of successive dominating empires and states. Both peoples also experienced migrations and the dynamics of diaspora, often in the same lands of resettlement.
Following a shared, long standing experience of powerlessness, statelessness and great suffering under oppressive totalitarian regimes in the 20th century, both peoples are today forming modern identities in and in relation to the independent states of Israel and Ukraine. UJE is an initiative founded on the belief that these two peoples have much to gain by better appreciating their joint and each other’s historical experience in all its complexity.
The organizing committee would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support and help, in making this event possible
American Jewish Committee (New York)
Anna Harasym Visual Communication (Toronto)
Architecture Website “e-architect” (Great Britain)
Artists Management (Zurich)
Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities in Ukraine—VAAD (Kyiv), National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto
Department for Urban Planning and Architecture, City of Kyiv State Administration
Dukh i Litera Publishers (Kyiv)
Dumka National Choir of Ukraine (Kyiv)
Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk)
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Holocaust Studies in Ukraine Project for Promoting Tolerance (Dnipropetrovsk)
Jewish Forum of Ukraine (Kyiv)
Kyiv Chamber Orchestra
International Union of Architects (Paris)
Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv)
KONTAKT Ukrainian Television Network in Canada
Ministry of Culture of Ukraine (Kyiv)
Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv)
Museum of Jewish Memory and the Holocaust in Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk)
Museum of Kyiv History
National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine (Kyiv)
National Union of Architects of Ukraine (Kyiv)
Public Committee for the Commemoration of the Victims of Babyn Yar (Kyiv)
Tkuma Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies (Dnipropetrovsk)
Ukrainian Art Song Project (Canada)
Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (Kyiv)
Ukrainian House International Exhibition and Convention Center (Kyiv)
Zotov and Co. Architectural Bureau (Kyiv)
Khreshchatyk, 44, ofis 10
Kyiv 01054 UKRAINE
1508 Kenneth Drive,
Mississauga, Ontario CANADA L5E 2Y5